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JBoss goes upscale with Arjuna deal

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JBoss is zeroing in on BEA Systems sacred transaction middleware business with the acquisition of software from Arjuna Technologies - once part of the Hewlett Packard (HP) fold.

The open source application server upstart has bought Arjuna Transaction Service Suite (ArjunaTS) and plans to both integrate ArjunaTS with its own growing middleware suite and release ArjunaTS under an open source license in the first quarter of 2006. Financial terms were not released.

The deal also gives JBoss access to Arjuna's implementations of Web Services Transaction (WS-TX) and Web Services Composite Application Framework (WS-CAF), which interoperate with middleware and server software from Microsoft and IBM.

ArjunaTS ensures the reliable delivery of messages in distributed networks and its ownership by JBoss closes a hole in JBoss's fledgling portfolio. Application servers like BEA's WebLogic that are used in distributed, mission-critical environments must be able to guarantee secure and reliable delivery of messages.

WebLogic achieves this using the cross-platform Tuxedo, designed by AT&T in the 1970s and owned by Novell before it was acquired by BEA. JBoss, who has been stealing customers from BEA, lacked its own Tuxedo-like software.

JBoss now believes it can challenge Tuxedo using the same tactics it used against WebLogic. JBoss is free to download while BEA charges $10,000 per CPU for WebLogic.

Shaun Connolly, vice president of JBoss's product management, told The Register BEA's customers are paying "very, very high" license fees for Tuxedo. "I'd be willing to bet there is a significant portion of those customers who aren't using all the bells and whistles," Connolly said.

The decision to branch into transaction processing middleware means a considerable stepping up of JBoss's competition against BEA. JBoss made early inroads against BEA in developer shops and with web-based applications but by folding in ArjunaTS, JBoss is now targeting higher-end tasks.

As part of the acquisition, Arjuna chief architect Mark Little is joining JBoss as director of standards. Little is one of ArjunaTS's co-creators. ®

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